Image - Andy Rouse

Castlefield

Site of the city’s first human settlement in 79AD, and boasting Roman ruins to prove it, Castlefield gifts a breath of fresh air to the city with looping bridges, boat-moored canals, and homely waterside pubs.

Highlights: Duke Street viaducts, views from the white bridge, Lock 92, the red and blue iron staircase

Stevenson Square and Northern Quarter

If you’re looking for somewhere to get your creative juices flowing, the Northern Quarter – and its beating heart in Stevenson Square – will inject a little technicolour and surprising Brooklyn-esque vibes into your world

Highlights: Outhouse, Brightwell Walk, Dale Street, Soap Street

St Peter’s Square

Clean lines and excess space meet a multitude of façades ranging from the eclectic Edwardian baroque of The Midland and Central Library’s neoclassical rotunda style to the Town Hall’s neo-Gothic turrets and modern classical No.1 St Peter’s Square.

Highlights: Red phone boxes, Town Hall Extension’s perfectly aligned arches, foxglove-trees (in bloom from late May), Emmeline Pankhurst statue

Oxford Road Corridor

Stretching from the Principal Hotel (which is a spot in its own right) down to Whitworth Park, a 30-minute meander along this stretch of mostly University campus reveals a glorious mix of museums and galleries, architectural styles ranging from neogothic to brutalist, theatres, former cinemas and even a shipping-container village.

Highlights: Hatch, The Whitworth art gallery, MMU Business School, Contact Theatre

Chinatown and The Gay Village

Neighbouring communities divided only by Portland Street, the former offers a back-alley smorgasbord of delights including bright neon, gritty laneways and the iconic Paifang, whist the latter sparkles with bright lights, colourful flags and a smattering of lively murals.

Highlights: Faulkner Street, The Molly House mural, Alan Turing statue, rainbow mosaics

King Street and surrounds

If you need a little style to accompany your snapping, King St has it in abundance. This sparkling gem of a street offers a treasure trove of shop fronts, trussed up at both ends with architectural splendours.

Highlights: Boodles frontage, Tib Lane’s Town Hall Tavern perspective, 100 King Street

Ancoats

As a regular contender for the UK’s hippest neighbourhood, Ancoats needs little introduction. The area may look fairly bland at first glance, but look past new-build flats and its actually teeming with heritage spots – old mills, waterways, cobbled streets and a fantastic central square build around Saint Peter’s former church.

Highlights: Anita Street, the Ancoats Peeps, Daily Express Building

Shambles Square and Cathedral Gardens

If you’re looking to be transported way back in time, Shambles Square has got you covered with Tudor framed pubs rubbing shoulders with 18th century stonework and the Medieval Cathedral loitering in the background. Nearby Cathedral Gardens offers an open space for city-dwellers sandwiched between the UK’s oldest surviving public library and the contrasting glass of the National Football Museum.

Highlights: Cathedral stained glass, The Old Wellington pub, Chetham’s Library, Corn Exchange

St Ann’s Square

The site of a Grade I listed, early 18th century Church, a theatre with pink-marbled insides and an iron and glass, three-tiered Victorian arcade; St Ann’s Square is steeped in Mancunian history with plenty to capture.

Highlights: The Royal Exchange Theatre, Barton Arcade, Jesus the Homeless statue

Spinningfields

One of the city’s most unusual combinations, on the edge of Spinningfields you can capture both the glass and steel of a high-end retailer and a Hogwarts-looking tomb of a building in one shot. Within the district you’ll find a myriad of building reflections and serious interior goals as you dart between The Ivy, 20 Stories, The Oast House and The Alchemist.

Highlights: John Ryland’s Library, Sunlight House, Hardman Square urban garden, No.1 Spinningfields

New Islington and Ashton Canal

Heading off the beaten track can reward in all sorts of unexpected ways, and this area on the North East fringe of the city has unexpectedness aplenty juxtaposing calm waterside scenes with mixed architectural gems

Highlights: Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Chips building, New Islington Marina

Southern Gateway

Once a lonely high-rise that was visible from all angles, the protruding Beetham Tower has now been joined by seven (and counting) new glass boxes all clustered around the Southern Gateway. The trick to capturing them is to find the right spot – try straight down Deansgate from the corner with Quay Street, along the tramlines from St Peter’s Square, or up close and at a height from Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop.

Highlights: It’s all about the angles with this one – see how many you can snap it from!

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